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劉廼強 | 23rd Feb 2010 | China Daily (Hong Kong Edition) | (41 Reads)

For the past decade, government budgets have always been sweetened with “candies”. This practice has become a habit, and expectations are so high among the general public that in recent years the Financial Secretary has had to cool it before his annual budget speech. This year, despite all the discouraging comments leaking from the government, we will see more candies in Wednesday’s budget, because with over HK$10 billion surplus, the government simply cannot stop.

Let me first clarify what is commonly meant by candies. These are one-shot benefits in the budget available to all. As such, they are inevitably small and are not meant to provide long-term solutions to problems, just to give short-term reprieves. Candies are not supposed to fill the stomach, and people are never truly satisfied, as the real problems are still left unresolved. In fact, these problems are piling up.

The government first started dishing out candies when the economy was hit by the Asian Financial Crisis just after the handover. It was loaded with cash, and people expected it to do something about the situation. However, bound by its philosophy of small government, the Financial Secretary did not want to intervene through recurrent spending, and instead, dished out candies. Unfortunately this worked. The budget bills were passed as lawmakers all claimed credit, and the media was happy as it had something to report.

The rest, as they say, is history, and candy time is now an annual ritual. When the economy is bad, the government has to alleviate hardship by dishing out candies through a deficit budget. And in good times, the government of course has to spend part of its budget surplus through the dishing out of candies. When the polls are up, it has to give candies to maintain the high; and when they are down, all the more reasons for candies.

The bad news is, people’s appetites are now growing bigger, and many will no longer be happy with just a few candies. The new budget will have to change its preoccupation with small government and its aversion to utilize recurrent expenditures to address certain problems.


[1] Tycoons are the problem

Instead, the problem is, the property tycoons’s appetites are now growing without constraint, and many of them will no longer be happy with Hong Kong people working for them as housing slaves for 20 years, they want all people in Hong Kong to work as housing slaves for their whole lives. The only solution is to rectify the partial government policy by seeking double universal suffrage. Get rid of the functional constituencies. Get rid of all spokesmen for the vested interest.


[引用] | 作者 梁振英 | 24th Apr 2010 | [舉報垃圾留言]